Home > Ghosts of the Shadow Market (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #1-10)(2)

Ghosts of the Shadow Market (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #1-10)(2)
Author: Cassandra Clare

“Are you very sad, Alastair?” Matthew heard Thomas ask as he approached, bent on retrieval.

“Stop bothering me, pip-squeak,” said Alastair, though his voice was tolerant. Even he could not strongly object to being adored.

“You heard the low, snaky serpent,” said Matthew. “Come away, Tom.”

“Ah, Mother Hen Fairchild,” sneered Alastair. “What a lovely wife you will make for somebody one of these fine days.”

Matthew was outraged to see Thomas’s tiny smile, though Thomas quickly concealed it out of respect for Matthew’s feelings. Thomas was meek and much afflicted by sisters. He seemed to think Alastair being rude to everyone was daring.

“I wish I could say the same for you,” said Matthew. “Has no kind soul thought to inform you that your hairstyle is, to use the gentlest words available to me, ill-advised? A friend? Your papa? Does nobody care enough to prevent you from making a spectacle of yourself? Or are you simply too busy perpetrating acts of evil upon the innocent to bother about your unfortunate appearance?”

“Matthew!” said Thomas. “His friend died.”

Matthew strongly desired to point out that Alastair and his friends had been the ones to unleash a demon upon James, and their nasty prank going wrong was no more than their just deserts. He could see, however, that would distress Thomas extremely.

“Oh, very well. Let us go,” he said. “Though I cannot help but wonder whose idea their nasty little trick was.”

“Wait a moment, Fairchild,” snapped Alastair. “You can go ahead, Lightwood.”

Thomas looked deeply worried as he went, but Matthew could see he was loath to disobey his idol. When Thomas’s worried hazel eyes flicked to Matthew, Matthew nodded, and Thomas reluctantly departed.

When he was gone, Matthew and Alastair squared off. Matthew understood that Alastair had sent Thomas away for a purpose. He bit his lip, resigned to a scuffle.

Instead Alastair said, “Who are you to play the moralist, talking about tricks and papas, considering the circumstances of your birth?”

Matthew frowned. “What on earth are you driveling about, Carstairs?”

“Everyone talks about your mama and her unwomanly pursuits,” said awful, unthinkable worm Alastair Carstairs. Matthew scoffed but Alastair raised his voice, persisting. “A woman cannot be a good Consul. Nevertheless your mother can continue her career, of course, since she has such strong support from the powerful Lightwoods.”

“Certainly our families are friends,” said Matthew. “Are you unfamiliar with the concept of friendship, Carstairs? How tragic for you, though understandable on the part of everyone else in the universe.”

Alastair raised his eyebrows. “Oh, great friends, no doubt. Your mama must require friends, since your papa is unable to play a man’s part.”

“I beg your pardon?” said Matthew.

“Odd that you were born so long after your papa’s terrible accident,” Alastair said, all but twirling an imaginary mustache. “Strange that your papa’s family will have nothing to do with you, to the extent of demanding that your mother renounce her married name. Remarkable that you bear no resemblance to your papa, and your coloring is so like Gideon Lightwood’s.”

Gideon Lightwood was Thomas’s papa. No wonder Alastair had sent Thomas away before making a ridiculous accusation like that.

It was absurd. Perhaps it was true that Matthew had fair hair, while his mama’s was brown and his father’s and Charles Buford’s was red. Matthew’s mama was tiny, but Cook said she thought Matthew would be taller than Charles Buford. Uncle Gideon was often with Mama. Matthew knew he had spoken for her when she was at odds with the Clave. Mama had once called him her good and faithful friend. Matthew had never thought much about it before.

His mama said his papa had such a dear, friendly, freckled face. Matthew had always wished he looked like him.

But he didn’t.

Matthew said, his voice strange in his own ears, “I do not understand what you mean.”

“Henry Fairchild is not your father,” spat Alastair. “You are Gideon Lightwood’s bastard. Everybody knows it but you.”

In a white and blinding rage, Matthew struck him in the face. Then he went to find Christopher, cleared the area, and gave him matches.

A short but eventful time passed before Matthew left school, never to return. In that interval, a wing of the Academy blew up.

Matthew realized it had been rather a shocking thing to do, but while he was deranged, he also demanded James be his parabatai, and by some miracle James agreed. Matthew and his papa arranged to spend more time at the Fairchilds’ London home so that Matthew could be with both his papa and his parabatai. It had all, Matthew considered, worked out rather well.

If only he could forget.

The Shadow Market, London, 1901

Jem halted in the midst of the dancing flames and black iron arches of the London Market, startled by the appearance of a familiar face in an unexpected context, and even more so by the warmth of Matthew’s greeting.

He knew Charlotte’s son, of course. Her other boy, Charles, was always very cool and distant when he encountered Brother Zachariah on official business. Brother Zachariah knew that the Silent Brothers were meant to be detached from the world. His uncle Elias’s son, Alastair, had made that very clear when Brother Zachariah reached out to him.

This is how it should be, said his Brothers in his mind. He could not always tell one of their voices from the others. They were a quiet chorus, a silent, ever-present song.

Jem would not have held it against Matthew if he felt the same way as many others, but he didn’t seem to. His bright, delicate face showed dismay all too clearly. “Am I being too familiar?” he asked anxiously. “I only supposed since I was James’s parabatai and that is what he calls you, I might do so as well.”

Of course you may, said Brother Zachariah.

James did, and James’s sister, Lucie, and Alastair’s sister, Cordelia, had taken to doing so as well. Zachariah considered that they were the three sweetest children in the world. He knew he might be a little partial, but faith created truth.

Matthew glowed. Zachariah was reminded of Matthew’s mother, and the kindness that had taken in three orphans when she was hardly more than a child herself.

“They all talk about you all the time in the London Institute,” Matthew confided. “James and Lucie and Uncle Will and Aunt Tessa too. I feel as if I know you a great deal better than I actually do, so I beg pardon if I trespass on your kindness.”

There can be no trespass when you are always welcome, said Jem.

Matthew’s smile spread. It was an extraordinarily engaging expression. His warmth was closer to the surface than Charlotte’s, Jem thought. He had never been taught to close himself off, to do anything but delight and trust in the world.

“I would like to hear all about your and Uncle Will’s and Aunt Tessa’s adventures from your point of view,” Matthew proposed. “You must have had a very exciting time! Nothing exciting ever happens to us. The way everyone talks about it, one might think you had a dramatic star-crossed passion with Aunt Tessa before you became a Silent Brother.” Matthew stopped himself. “Sorry! My tongue ran away with me. I am heedless and excited to talk to you properly. I’m sure it is strange to think of your past life. I hope I did not upset or offend you. I cry peace.”

Peace, echoed Brother Zachariah, amused.

“I am certain you could have had a torrid affair with any person you wanted, of course,” said Matthew. “Anyone can see that. Oh Lord, that was a heedless thing to say too, wasn’t it?”

It is very kind of you to say so, said Brother Zachariah. Is it not a fine night?

“I can see you are a very tactful fellow,” said Matthew, and clapped Brother Zachariah on the back.

They wandered through the stalls of the Shadow Market. Brother Zachariah was searching for one warlock in particular, who had agreed to help him.

“Does Uncle Will know you are in London?” asked Matthew. “Are you going to see him? If Uncle Will finds out you were in London and did not come to call, and I knew about it, that will be curtains for me! Young life cut off in its prime. A bright flower of manhood withered untimely. You might think of me and my doom, Uncle Jem, you really might.”

Might I? asked Brother Zachariah.

It was fairly obvious what Matthew was angling to know.

“It would also be very kind of you if you refrained from mentioning that you saw me at the Shadow Market,” Matthew wheedled, with his engaging smile and a distinct air of apprehension.

Silent Brothers are terrible gossips as a rule, said Brother Zachariah. For you, though, Matthew, I will make an exception.

“Thanks, Uncle Jem!” Matthew linked his arm with Jem’s. “I can see we are going to be great friends.”

It must be a horrible contrast for the Market to behold, Jem thought, seeing this bright child hanging so carelessly off the arm of a Silent Brother, hooded and cloaked and shrouded in darkness. Matthew seemed blissfully unaware of the incongruity.

I believe we will be, said Jem.

“My cousin Anna says the Shadow Market is tremendous fun,” said Matthew happily. “Of course, you know Anna. She’s always tremendous fun herself and has the best taste in waistcoats in London. I met some very agreeable faeries who invited me, and I thought I would come see.”

The faeries Matthew had been dancing with previously whisked past, streaks of light in flower crowns. One faerie boy, lips stained with the juice of strange fruit, paused and winked at Matthew. He appeared not to resent being deserted in their dance, though appearances were seldom reliable with faeries. Matthew hesitated, casting a wary eye upon Brother Zachariah, then winked back.

Brother Zachariah felt he had to warn: Your friends may mean mischief. Faeries often do.

Matthew smiled, the lovely expression turning wicked. “I mean mischief frequently myself.”

That is not exactly what I mean. Nor do I intend to insult any Downworlders. There are as many trustworthy Downworlders as there are Shadowhunters, which means the opposite is also true. It might be wise to remember that not all those at the Shadow Market look with favor on the Nephilim.

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